What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a condition that affects the optic nerve. It builds up increased pressure inside the eye. This, in turn, damages the connectivity between the optic nerve and the brain resulting in permanent vision loss.
Symptoms and Types of Glaucoma
There are two main types of Glaucoma:
- Open-angle glaucoma
- Angle-closure glaucoma
Open-angle glaucoma: This is more common and harder to detect. People do not experience any serious symptoms but the patient suffers gradual loss of vision and may even completely lose it if left untreated. It is estimated that over 3 million Americans have glaucoma.
Angle-closure glaucoma: It is not very common but it’s very easy to detect. Symptoms include immediate vision loss, severe eye pain, extremely red eyes, and nausea. Vision loss occurs very suddenly and there are no proven successful treatments to regenerate lost vision. Since it is not so common, not more than 10% are affected every year.
Are You at Risk For Glaucoma?
A survey done for Glaucoma Research Foundation found that 74% of over 1,000 people interviewed have their eyes examined at least every two years. Yet, there are no exact steps or methods to prevent glaucoma.
Everyone is at risk of glaucoma but certain groups are at higher risk than others:
- People at the age of 40 and above are at higher risk of getting affected by glaucoma;
- If you are a diabetic, it is highly recommended that you go on regular medical check-ups;
- If you have a family history of glaucoma: don’t forget the most common type of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is hereditary;
- If you have already underwent a LASIK surgery;
- If you are an African/American – it is six to eight times more common in African Americans than in Caucasians;
- People with variations in blood pressure, traumas or hypertension.
What foods to eat?
- Some healthy food habits to build strong eyesight:
- Intake of vitamin A, B and C
- Foods rich in protein
- Green leafy vegetables, fruits and cereals
- Increased intake of fish oil, B-complex and calcium
- Avoid consuming tea, coffee, and alcohol
How to Treat Glaucoma?
A variety of options are available to treat glaucoma, depending on the severity of the condition. It can be treated with eye drops, pills, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these very effective methods.
Eye Drops: It’s effective for patients in their initial stage of glaucoma. The patient needs to hydrate his/her eyes with drops but only as prescribed. Adverse effects include swelling, itching, sore eyes, blurred vision, allergies, and redness.
Laser Surgery: It repairs the connectivity issue between the optic nerve and the brain protecting from permanent eyesight loss. Laser surgery is for people who cannot tolerate medications. However, its effect is typically not permanent.
Micro Surgery: A thin tube is transplanted and the optic nerve gets connected to the brain through it. The success rate of this method is quite less when compared to laser surgery.
These treatments only work for people diagnosed in the earlier stages of glaucoma. Without treatment, it will result in complete vision loss. That is one of the reasons people call it “the sneak thief of sight.”
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